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Ruby Bridges

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Bridges with US Marshal escort

Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) is an American activist. She is known for being the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. She went to William Frantz Elementary School.

Early life

Ruby Bridges was born in Tylertown, Mississippi to Abon and Lucille Bridges.[1] When she was 4 years old, the family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1960, when she was 6 years old, her parents allowed her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans School system.


In a 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court made Racial segregation against the law.[2] Ruby was chosen to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School.[3] The school board said black children could attend the first grade if they passed a test.[4] Bridges passed a test. On her first day of school four U.S. Marshals had to go with her to school. She went straight to the principal's office.[5] Angry crowds of parents shouted threats at her. For the next six months the marshals took her to and from her school.[3] Ruby had to spend the entire first school year alone with one teacher, Barbara Henry.[6] People tried to hurt her family. Her father lost his job and her grandparents were thrown off their farm in Georgia.[7] Ruby never missed a day of school that year.[7] The story of her going to a white school is the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting called The Problem We All Live With.[8]

Adult life

Bridges in 2010

She finished elementary school and graduated from high school. Bridges went on to become a travel agent for American Express.[9] Mrs. Ruby Bridges got married to Malcolm Hall and had four sons.[9] In 1993, her brother was shot and killed in New Orleans. Ruby's family went to New Orleans to take care of his daughters.[10] She became active again. In 1999, she wrote a children's book, "Through My Eyes", telling her story.[9] The same year she started the Ruby Bridges Foundation. She travels and talks to children all over the country.[9]

On 8 January 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Ruby Bridges the Presidential Citizens Medal.[11] She was one of 28 to receive the medal that day.


  1. Madeline Donaldson, Ruby Bridges (Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2009), p. 7
  2. "U.S. Supreme Court, BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)". Thomson Reuters. 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Leslie Kaplan; William Owings, Educational Foundations (Australia: Wadsworth, 2014), p. 153
  4. Madeline Donaldson, Ruby Bridges (Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 2009), p. 14
  5. Dewey, Joseph (2018). [ "Ruby Bridges"]. Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia. 
  6. Dewey, Joseph (2018). [ "Ruby Bridges"]. Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lottie L. Joiner (Nov. 19, 2010). "50 years after childhood stand, Ruby Bridges still works for change". shreveport Times ( Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  8. CBSNEWS.COM STAFF (February 22, 2001). "Ruby's Bridge From Child To Adult". CBS Interactive Inc.. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Chris Rose, The Times-Picayune (January 18, 2009). "Ruby Bridges, an icon of New Orleans integration, will witness another milestone 50 years later". NOLA Media Group. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  10. Dewey, Joseph (2018). [ "Ruby Brideges"]. Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia. 
  11. "President Clinton Awards the Presidential Citizens Medals". The White House. 8 January 2001. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 

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